2001 Nobel Prizes
Americans William S. Knowles and K. Barry Sharpless won the Nobel Prize
in chemistry with Ryoji Noyori of Japan on Wednesday for molecular research
used in making medicines. Their research deals with the fact that many
molecules appear in two forms that are mirror images of each other, just
like the left and right hands. Cells generally respond to only one of these
forms, while the other form might be harmful. Drugs often use such mirror-image
molecules and the difference between the two forms can be a matter of life
and death. The research has led to ways of making only the proper
form of these mirror-image molecules. The technology has led to methods
of creating medicines like antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and heart
medications, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its citation.
or Medicine: The scientists were honored for their study
of the cell cycle, the process by which a cell grows and divides. Along
the way, the cell must duplicate its chromosomes and distribute them equally
to the two new cells. When something goes wrong during cell division, it
can lead to cancer, which is characterized by runaway cell division. The
Nobel winners all discovered genes and proteins that regulate the cell
cycle. The scientists' work is ``a major contribution to our understanding
of a basic biological process that has profound implications for cancer
research,'' said Helen Piwnica-Worms, a cell cycle researcher at Washington
University in St. Louis.
The scientists created a new state of matter: an ultra-cold gas that could
aid in developing smaller and faster electronics. The advances are
``going to bring revolutionary applications in such fields as precision
measurement and nanotechnology,'' or micro-machines, according to the citation
by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
2000 Nobel Prizes
or Medicine: In the human brain there are more than hundred
billion nerve cells. They are connected to each other through an infinitely
complex network of nerve processes. The message from one nerve cell to
another is transmitted through different chemical transmitters. The signal
transduction takes place in special points of contact, called synapses.
A nerve cell can have thousands of such contacts with other nerve cells.
The three Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine have made pioneering
discoveries concerning one type of signal transduction between nerve cells,
referred to as slow synaptic transmission. These discoveries have been
crucial for an understanding of the normal function of the brain and how
disturbances in this signal transduction can give rise to neurological
and psychiatric diseases. These findings have resulted in the development
of new drugs.
for the discovery and development of conductive polymers
The researchers' work has laid the foundations of modern information technology,
IT, particularly through their invention of rapid transistors, laser diodes,
and integrated circuits (chips).